While the title sounds like something out of science fiction, this well researched and documented book traces the history of efforts to build a car that could also be easily converted into an airplane, research that continues today, according to the author. There are many variants of design and purpose and young inventors will be amazed at the number of designs and the rate of success. Well documented in terms of research as well.
Edie Ching, 10-14.
Fifty poems from across history and around the world describe and celebrate tangible things and the intangible but lasting effect of poetry. After opening with Greenfield’s “Things,” Janeczko arranges his selections in chronological periods from the early middle ages to the present. His emphasis on the familiar and tangible makes these poems particularly accessible and his broad scope allows for impressive diversity. Rashka’s watercolors surround these poems, suggesting the objects and reflecting the tone. K. Isaacs (7-10, but really 8-12)
Among a group of productive hens, P. Zonka stands out for her dreaminess, her attention to the beauty of the world around her, and her lack of eggs, until she gives it a try. Paschkis's folk-art illustrations are the perfect match for this tale of Pysanka eggs and her text is a delight, full of humor, appreciation for the natural world, and understanding of chickens. While the hens gabble and gossip, P. Zonka is "gawking at clouds." An Easter treat. K.Isaacs (up to 7)
This pre-apocalyptic debut novel follows four initially loosely connected Seattle-area high school seniors, but the drama created by these connections is nothing compared to the impending doom of an asteroid likely to hit the Earth. Wallach's contemporary and thoughtful book is full of darkness, but is not without moments of bright dialogue and considerable humor. Teens will have much to consider after turning the last page. Fourteen and Up. -Todd Krueger
Who would have thought a picture book biography of Wangari Maathai could be so fresh? Rather than focusing simply on her tree planting, this French import looks at social and political issues, providing a much broader introduction both to Kenya and to the woman who won a Nobel Peace Prize for her work. The stylized art appealingly supports her story and the extensive back matter makes this a rich resource for older readers. K. Isaacs. (7-10)
Stick and Stone are not much when they are alone, but when they meet and become fast friends, adventures ensue. The value of friendship and what it means to be a true friend is depicted in this story that is appropriate for beginning readers with concise, rhyming text that makes it a terrific read-aloud, too. The warmth of the muted color pallet combined with the expressiveness and energy of the illustrations perfectly match the text. Plenty of humor and drama makes a story that starts as “a zero” and “a one” end in “a perfect 10,” just like Stick and Stone’s friendship. Up to Seven. –Summer Rosswog
A man exits his house one morning to find a skunk has appeared on his doorstep, and the striped creature follows behind him wherever he goes--until the man finally tricks the skunk and turns the tables. Barnett chooses the story's words carefully, often mimicking its off-kilter events. The familiar illustrations perfectly match the slightly uneasy tone of the book. The ambiguous ending allows readers to imagine what may come next. Up to Seven. -Todd Krueger